Tanzania Eyes Sugar Self Sufficiency

Dodoma — THE government has said that importing sugar from outside the country will be history come 2025/2026, expressing optimism that at that time, the country expects to produce about 750,000 tonnes of the sweetener, against the current 380,000 tonnes.

The assurance was given here by the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) Director General, Professor Kenneth Bengesi when outlining key priorities that his board would implement in this financial year (2022/23) as well as key achievements attained in the last financial year.

According to him, currently the government was spending up to 150 million US dollars (about 3.5bn/-) to import sugar from outside the country, meaning by increasing the envisaged production, the country would save billions of shillings.

In yet another move, it means sugar bigwigs who usually create unnecessary artificial sugar shortages at some point may find themselves out of the crucial business.

Prof Bengesi told journalists that by importing sugar from outside the country, the government was increasing employment opportunities outside the country rather than creating the same inside.

That is why, he noted, the government had put up serious strategies to ensure that the sugar sector is benefiting Tanzanians, adding that with the ongoing plans, it was expected that the government was targeting 24,000 and 180,000 direct and indirect developments in sugar plantations.

“Currently, we are implementing different projects for expansion of infrastructures in the sugar producing factories countrywide in order to increase sugar production capacity from the current 180,000 tonnes,” he said.

One of the key interventions for manufacturing under the Third Five Year Development Plan 2021/22 – 2025/26 is to promote national champions (competitive big businesses) in various industries, sugar being one of them.

Other industries are horticulture, aquaculture, apiculture, textile and garments, leather, chemicals (petrochemicals and other chemicals), pharmaceutical, transport, building and construction.

According to Prof Bengesi, the Kilombero Sugar Company Limited (KSCL) was expected to increase production from the current 130,000 to 271,000 tonnes, while Kagera Sugar Company would increase its production from 95,000 to 170,000 tonnes after the ongoing improvement for infrastructure.

“Also Mtibwa Sugar Company will hike its production from 48,000 as of June 2022 to 100,000 tonnes of sugar come 2025/26, while the Kilimanjaro region based TPC Sugar Cogeneration Plant is expected to increase production from the current 108,000 to 120,000 tonnes and the recently introduced Manyara Sugar Company will hike production from 8,000 to 10,000 tonnes of sugar,” he added.

According to Prof Bengesi, the government was implementing the ruling CCM’s party manifesto which directed that come 2025, the government should have the capacity through all sugar factories to produce at least 700,000 tonnes of sugar to refrain from importing the product from outside the country.

According to the SBT Director General, in the next two years, his board was expecting to have the producing capacity of sugar from the current 380,000 to 671,000 tonnes and that with the ongoing investments at different sugar plants countrywide, it was expected that sugar production would stand at 750,000 tonnes, an amount which is far above the target of 700,000 tonnes as directed by the party manifesto.

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